Smashing Keurigs is Actually a Very Effective Protest

Some conservatives responded to Keurig pulling its ads from Sean Hannity by smashing Keurig brewers and posting videos of it on social media. The usual lefty sneering ensued. 

"This predictably escalated even further and now Twitter is filled with amazing videos of right-wingers smashing their costly home coffee machines... Other people who shot the videos appear to be under the impression that destroying the Keurigs will make liberals angry, instead of belly-laughing at the view of conservatives destroying their own coffee machines in a fit of impotent rage," Gizmodo posted.

Setting aside the politics of it for a minute, smashing Keurigs is actually a very effective form of protest. Why? Because Keurig isn't just an expensive brewer. it's a product that Green Mountain Coffee makes very little money from in order to sell K-cups on the razor blade model.

Keurig's single-serve coffee brewers (and other brewers and beverage makers) are the "razors," and its K-cup coffee pods (and other pods and portion packs of different sizes) are the "blades." Keurig's original pricing policy involved selling its brewers and other beverage makers at only a small markup over its costs in order to entice as many consumers and businesses to buy them; we can assume its current general policy probably remains similar. The company makes most of its money on the recurring revenue stream of consumable pods and other portion packs, which are sold at a higher profit margin.

Green Mountain makes money from sell you cups, not from the brewers. Like printers, razors or game consoles, they're how the company hooks you into using their product. No brewer, no product.

The scariest thing you can do to a razor blade model company is smashing the thing they spent a lot of money manufacturing and that they made little money selling you, while cutting off their ability to sell you the stuff that they actually make money from. 

And yes, it worked.

Keurig's CEO has apologized to employees for "any negativity" they faced because of the brand's announcement on Twitter on Saturday that it would stop running ads during Sean Hannity's Fox News show.

In a memo obtained Monday by The Washington Post's Erik Wemple, CEO Bob Gamgort called Keurig's decision to explain its plan to "pause" its advertising with Hannity's show "highly unusual" and "outside of company protocols.

"This gave the appearance of 'taking sides' in an emotionally charged debate that escalated on Twitter and beyond over the weekend, which was not our intent," Gamgort wrote.

He continued: "Clearly, this is an unacceptable situation that requires an overhaul of our issues response and external communications policies and the introduction of safeguards to ensure this never happens again ... The nature of social media and the internet news environment is that stories like this explode, and generally do not disappear quickly."